Nigeria Ordered to Change Cybercrime Law due to Human Rights Concerns
April 6, 2022
Cited article by Emma Woollacott, Forbes
HRRC promotes freedom of speech and access to uncensored information. The implementation of laws that criminalize free speech and any government criticism in the media and press is a human rights offense, and these laws must be withdrawn.
A cybercrime law in Nigeria has been found illegal as a violation of human rights, and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has ordered it to be changed. The 2015 Cybercrime (Prohibition) Act criminalized pornographic content, information that was either false or aggravating, cyberbullying, and "insulting or stalking public officials online". Concerns arose that the law was being utilized to arrest and censor journalists and those disagreeing with state actions.
The NGO, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (Serap) filed the suit against the cybercrime law on the grounds that the law violated freedom of expression and information and was being used as a tool to repress. While it remains to be seen if anything will change after the determination, Serap is planning to continue its advocacy and protests. Specifically, the NGO is requesting that President Muhammadu Buhari withdraw and drop the charges against various activists, governmental critics, and journalists who have been arrested since the law was enacted.